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Dr Alex Ibhadon


Alex Ibhadon

Reader, Catalysis and Reactor Engineering for Energy Generation and Chemical Synthesis

Biography A.O.Ibhadon PhD CChem FRSC MIM SFHEA MSPE
Reader Catalysis & Reactor Engineering for Energy Generation and Chemical Synthesis
Visiting Professor, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India

Dr Ibhadon graduated with a doctorate in Physical Polymer Chemistry from the University of Birmingham thanks to a Commonwealth Scholarship. PhD work (distinction in first year assessment), involved the mechanical properties and crystallization behaviour of semi-crystalline polymers. Work on crystallization after ‘partial melting’ was put into commercial exploitation in the ‘Thermoforming’ Operations at Metal Box (Oxon), enabling the manufacture of plastic products with enhanced fracture toughness, impact resistance as well as reduced environmental stress cracking. The results from this work also formed the basis of about eight articles published in the Journal of Applied Polymer Science, including articles such as ‘Crystallization Regimes in Semi-crystalline Polymers’, ‘Physical Ageing in Isotactic Polypropylene’ and ‘Strain hardening behaviour in Semicrystalline Polymers’
Employment as a postdoctoral research fellow, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, Newcastle University and a lectureship appointment at the University of Hull, followed my PhD study at the University of Birmingham and developing my research in catalysis at the University of Hull.
Dr Ibhadon is a Reader in Catalysis and Reactor Engineering for Energy Generation and Chemical Synthesis at UoH, Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (CChem FRSC) with research expertise in Catalysis and Advanced Materials. Dr Ibhadon has received £5,425,671.43 (as investigator and co-investigator) in research funding and is a co-founder of a Spin-Out Company between the UoH and the University of Warwick. Dr Ibhadon has published over 74 articles in leading journals in the area of Catalysis and Chemical Synthesis and made 84 conference presentations.
Catalysis, the focus of my research work, is the bedrock of manufacturing in the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Allied Industries. The Chemical industry employs > 67% of EU workforce and contributes > £50BN to UK GDP. Catalysis is an internationally important and competitive arena. For example, catalysis driven Artificial Photosynthesis provides energy security and climate mitigation, enables Smart Cities and Sustainable Futures, while Catalysis driven Nitrogen Fixation ensures food security for > 4.5BN people by providing fertilizers for agriculture through the Haber Bosch Ammonia process; this process use heterogeneous catalyst materials that have an annual market turnover of $220BN. Thirdly, decarbonization of energy systems and protection of our global ecosystems and bio-diversity, is only possible with catalyst materials as they will enable sustainable manufacturing, renewable energy production, and innovations in green technologies, and support for the Circular Economy while also providing millions of job opportunities, globally. Catalysis is a priority technology area for the UK via EPSRC/UKRI research portfolios and is the reason for UK Catalysis HUBs at Cardiff, Manchester and Bath Universities and other UK institutions.

Research Theme
New Generation of Renewable energy Technologies
We carry out research work on the decarbonization of the energy system as this is required to enable the UK and other nations to meet their national determined contributions (NDC) as well as obligations set out in the Paris Climate Change Agreement. To achieve these objectives requires the ultimate replacement of fossil fuels with renewable alternatives that have the capability and flexibility for long-term and large-scale storage in new kind of energy storage compounds. In this regard, our work is focused mainly on the production, storage and transport of hydrogen from renewable routes. Due to its high energy density (about 3 times higher, on weight basis) than the energy density of conventional fuels, hydrogen (H2), is a clean and feasible alternative to carbon-based fuels and decarbonization of the UK energy sectors, e.g. the transport sector, by switching to H2 fuel will not only help the UK Aviation meet its net-zero CO2 emissions target, it will also contribute to enabling the UK government to meet its targeted emission reduction obligations. This is the basis of our current energy based projects listed below.

1. The production of green Ammonia and Hydrogen for an End-to End industrial fuel switching applications in transport, shipping or maritime, combustion and aviation or Fuel Cells
2. The production of Ammonia and its cracking to Hydrogen via atmospheric pressure desalination and Non-Thermal Plasma Catalysis
3. Renewable energy integration via Modelling and Simulation
4. Carbon dioxide utilization via conversion into fuels/renewable energy generation such as dimethyl ether (DME) or raw materials such as methanol using physical or chemical methods offers an approach to sustainably and economically abate and recycle CO2 and eliminate the economic liability and health & safety concerns associated with geological CO2 storage in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Various technologies, including thermocatalysis, electrocatalysis, photocatalysis, and biochemical technology, can be used for this purpose. Of these, the solar-driven photo-catalytic process has proved to be a promising technology (Roy et al, ASC Nano, 2010, 4, 1259-1278). However, photo-catalytic technology has low conversion efficiency and low utilization of solar energy, which vary significantly from one technology to another. To tackle this challenge, a photo-catalytic system that can make efficient use of solar energy is the most desired development. Solar light absorption and electron transportation in conventional photocatalytic materials are difficult especially in single photocatalyst systems because: (a) semiconductor has a lower light absorption capability than Phytochroms, although ionic doping and semiconductor coupling have been used to broaden the spectrum responsive range.
Recent research indicates that introducing disordering and defected surfaces can significantly increase light absorption (Chen et al, Science, 2011, 331. 746-750); (b) photo-catalytic systems are, unlike Phytochroms, found in nature, in which the photo-generated electrons can be exploited by 100%. Compared to phytochroms, the electron transportation velocity of semiconductors is significantly lower, resulting in reduced separation efficiency of the photo-generating carriers. Although P/N hetero-junctions have been reported, the separation effect is not significant; (c) nanofabrication of photo-catalysts is an effective way to improve the photo-catalyst activity. Recent studies indicate that the photo-generating carriers can be effectively separated by the space confinement of nano-domains (Liu et al, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2010, 132 14385-14387).

5.Photoelectrochemical CO2 reduction and H2O splitting
The photoelectrochemical reduction of CO2 competes with water reduction in aqueous media, i.e. H2 generation and the direct photo reduction is a challenge because CO2 is thermodynamically stable, showing a high energy barrier that impedes its activation and conversion in a multistep and complicated reaction pathway. For this reason, the conversion efficiency and reaction selectivity are largely compromised. The main CO2 reduction products are C1 (CO, CH4, CH3OH, CH2O, and HCOOH) and C2 (C2H4, C2H5OH, and CH3COOH), which are more desirable for applications in energy storage and transportation and as fuels because of their higher energy density and value. Electrochemical reduction allows the production of C1 with > 95 Faradaic efficiency, C2 with 60 % FE and C3 products with 8 %. The main advantage of a PEC reactor compared to a photocatalytic device is that its compartmentalized design allows for the separation of reduction and oxidation products. PEC reactor design for CO2 reduction is limited, however, the designs proposed for electrochemical CO2 reduction can be adopted and these are based on a cathode electrocatalyst immobilized in a gas diffusion layer, which overcomes the limitations of low CO2 concentration at the cathode interface. We use selective ion-exchange membrane to separate the anolyte and catholyte and surface modification to improve photoelectrode efficiency and stability
Density Functional Theory Computational Analysis of Catalytic reactions and reactors.

An international esteem and record of accomplishment in research in catalysis and advanced materials has been underpinned by substantial and significant research funding from the EU, the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Royal Society, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Newton, NetZero Innovation as well as the Commonwealth with total research income > £6.6M, with recent grants since 2016 listed below:
2023: VUBA- Testing of Polyols and acrylonitrile binders for surfacing applications (33k)
2022: BEIS IHA - End to End Fuel Switching for Industrial Applications (400k)
2021: Royal Society; Development and Testing of high-performance Catalysts for an on-board cracking of ammonia for hydrogen-powered transport system (£12000).
2021: Royal Society; Design of Thallium Nitride Photoelectrodes for Dimethyl Ether Synthesis (£12,000)
2021: EPSRC Network Hydrogen; Development of a compact and highly efficient On-board ammonia cracking system to produce hydrogen in a hydrogen-fueled long haul civil airliner (£50,000)
2021: Net Zero Innovation; Development and analysis of a novel liquid ammonia energy Storage (LNHES) technology integrated to different energy systems (£40,000)
2021: United Kingdom Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (£30,000), The Development of an energy-efficient and cost-effective catalytic regeneration system in the post-combustion CO2 capture process)
2021 Conversion of Waste to Biogas-Global Challenge Research Fund 2020: Synthesis of Inorganic Sensors Commonwealth (£39,820.38)
2019: Global Challenge Research Fund (£28,857)
2019: New Coating Technology for chemical synthesis EU Leadership grant of €1,177,925 (awarded to Spin Out)
2018: Microfluidic Sensors Global Challenge (£26,536)
2018: Advanced Materials for Water Treatment Newton Fund (£37,100)
2018: Photocatalytic Quantum Dots Newton Fund (£15,400)
2017: Micro-Reactors Active Pharm for APIs, EU Funding (£46,000)
2016: Advanced Nanoporous Materials Newton Fund (£70,000)
2016: Catalyst Coated Tubular Reactors Innovate UK £550,000, (awarded to Spin-Out)
2016: Catalyst Coated Tubular Reactors EU PoC Grant €150,000 (awarded to Spin-out)
2016: Catalyst Coated Tubular Reactors EPSRC £35,000 (awarded to Spin-out)
2016: Microwave, Acoustic and Plasma Synthesis EU FP7 £3.6M

2021 Research Excellence Framework Articles ( 5 3* articles)
1. Dehydroacetic acid Derived Schiff base as Selective and Sensitive Colorimetric Chemosensor for the Detection of Cu (II) ions in Aqueous Medium, 10.1016/j.microc.2020.104705;2020

2. Low temperature plasma-catalytic NOx synthesis in a packed DBD reactor: effect of support materials and supported active metal oxides10.1016/j.apcatb.2016.04.055;2016

3. Novel synthesis of thick wall coatings of titania supported Bi poisoned Pd catalysts and application in selective hydrogenation of acetylene alcohols in microreactors10.1039/c4lc01066c; 2015

4. Stabilization of Pd3−xIn1+x polymorphs with Pd-like crystal structure and their superior performance as catalysts for semi-hydrogenation of alkynes
10.1002/cctc.201900391; 2019

5. Ultrasound- and microwave-assisted preparation of lead-free palladium catalysts: effects on the kinetics of diphenylacetylene semi-hydrogenation, 10.1002/cctc.201402999;2015

Current Projects
1. Royal Society funded: Development of Thallium Nitride Photocathodes for Dimethyl Ether Synthesis
2. EPSRC Network Hydrogen funded: Development of a compact and highly efficient on-board ammonia cracking system to produce hydrogen in a hydrogen-fuelled long haul civil airliner
3. Net Zero Innovation funded: Development and analysis of a novel liquid ammonia energy storage (LNHES) technology integrated to different energy systems
4. United Kingdom Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre funded: The Development of an energy-efficient and cost-effective catalytic regeneration system in the post-combustion CO2 capture process)
5. Royal Society funded Development and Testing of high-performance Catalysts for an on-board cracking of ammonia for hydrogen-powered transport system.
6. EU funded: The Synthesis of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients

Publications since 2016
Wansheng Ruan, Shuyu Liang, Chen Yuan, Weiyi Hao, Zilin Lu, Dan Wang,Gangya Cheng Qiuheng Wang, Wenjun Jiang , Alex O. Ibhadon, Fei Teng, Boosted electrocatalytic hydrogen production by methylene blue and urea and synergistic electrooxidation degradation, Materials Today Energy, 2021, 22, 100880 Yuan; Weiyi

Hao; Shuyu Liang; Zilin Lu; Ben Ma; Jiawei Zhang; Wansheng Ruan; Zain Ul Abideen; Wenjun Jiang; A.O.Ibhadon, Fei Teng. Promoted N≡N by Oxygen and boosted Ammonia Production over Bi4O5Br2, Molecular Catalysis 2021, 515, 111913.

Southouse, Jamie; Lazzarini, Laura; Ibhadon, A O; Francesconi, Maria “Ultra-Small FeS2 Nanoparticles for Highly Efficient Chemoselective Transfer Hydrogenation of Nitroarenes" Royal Society of Chemistry New Journal of Chemistry, 2021, 45, 17808-785 doi: 10.1039/d1nj03297f

Devika Vashisht, Sugandha Sangar, Manpreet Kaur, Ekta Sharma, Aseem Vashisht, A. O. Ibhadon, Shweta Sharma, S. K. Mehta, Kulvinder Singh -Biosynthesis of Silver Nanospheres, their Kinetic profile and Optical Sensing of Mercury and Chlorite ions in aqueous solution, Environmental Research, 2021, 197, 111142 https://doi/org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.111142

Devika Vashisht & A.O.Ibhadon, Isothiocyanates: Chemical Substance for Environmental Remediation: in Spectrum of Isothiocyanates, its Chemistry and Applications, Nova Publishers (ISBN:978-1-53616-478-7: 2021), Chemistry Research and Applications, Imprints, Nova, Science and Technology, Special Topics, Jan 2021 (

Bhaskar S. Patil, Nikolay Cherkasov, Nadadur Veeraraghavan Srinath, Juergen Lang, A. O. Ibhadon, Qi Wang, V. Hessel, The Role of Heterogeneous Catalysts in the Plasma-catalytic Ammonia Synthesis, Catal. Today, 2021 362, 2-10.

Nishat Khan, Abdul Hakeem Anwer, Ameer Azam, A.O. Ibhadon, Mohammad Zain Khan, Magnesium Ferrite Spinel’s as Anode Modifier for the treatment of Congo red and Energy recovery in a Single Chambered Microbial Fuel Cell, Journal of Hazardous Materials,

Devika Vashisht, Amit Kumar, Surinder Kumar Mehta, A.O.Ibhadon, Analysis of emerging contaminants: A case study of the underground and drinking water in Chandigarh, India, Environ. Adv. 2020, 1, 100002

Shelja Sharma, A.O. Ibhadon, M. Francesconi, Surinder K, Mehta, Sasikumar Elumalai, Sushil Kansal, Ahmad Umar, Sotirios Baskoutas, Bi2WO6/C-dots/TiO2: A novel z-scheme photocatalyst for the degradation of fluoroquinolone levofloxacin from aqueous medium, Nanomater. 2020, 10,901; doi: 10.3390/nano10050910

Devika Vashisht, Shikha Sharma, Rakesh Kumar, Vaneet Saini, Vikram Saini, A.O.Ibhadon, Subash Chandra Sahoo, Shweta Sharma , S. K Mehta , Ramesh Kataria, Dehydroacetic acid Derived Schiff base as Selective and Sensitive Colorimetric Chemosensor for the Detection of Cu (II) ions in Aqueous, Microchem. Jour. 2020, 155, 104705

Shaun K. Johnston, Thomas A. Bryant, Jonathan Strong, Laura Lazzarini, A.O. Ibhadon, Maria Grazia Francesconi, Stabilization of Pd3 xIn1+x Polymorphs with Pd-like Crystal Structure and their Superior Performance as Catalysts for Semi-Hydrogenation of Alkynes, ChemCatChem 2019, 11, 1

Shelja Sharma, S. K. Mehta, A.O. Ibhadon, S. K. Kansal, Fabrication of novel Carbon Quantum Dots modified Bismuth Oxide (<alpha>-Bi2O3/C-dots): Material Properties and Catalytic Applications, Jour. Colloid & Interface Sci. 2019, 533, 227–327.

Arun KumarRekha, S.K.Kansal, A.O.Ibhadon and S.K.Mehta, Mixed surfactant altering chain length and head group Aggregates as an effective carrier for tuberculosis drug. Chem. Phys.Lipids, 2018, 215, 11-17.

Pankaj Taneja, Shelja Sharma, Ahmad Umar, A.O.Ibhadon, Sushil Kansal, Visible-light driven photocatalytic degradation of brilliant green dye based on cobalt tungstate (CoWO4) nanoparticles, Mater. Chem. Physics, 2018, 211: 335-342. Doi: 0.1016/j.matchemphys.2018.02.041.

Shelja Sharma, Ahmad Umar, S. K. Mehta, A. O. Ibhadon and S.K.Kansal, Solar light driven photocatalytic degradation of levofloxacin using TiO2/Carbon-dots nanocomposite. New J. Chem.2018, 42, 7445-7456, doi: 10.1039/C7NJ05118B.

A.O. Ibhadon and S. Kansal, The Reduction of Alkynes over Pd-based Catalyst Materials- A Pathway to Chemical Synthesis. Jour. Chem. Eng. & Process Technol. 9, 1, 2018, doi:10.4172/2157-7048.1000376.

Pankaj Taneja, Shelja Sharma, Ahmad Umar ,Surinder Kumar Mehta, A.O. Ibhadon, Sushil Kumar Kansal, Visible-light driven photocatalytic degradation of brilliant green dye based on cobalt tungstate (CoWO4) Nanoparticles, Mater. Chem. Physics, 2018, 23, 452-487. 2018. 02. 041.

A.O. Ibhadon, N. Chekersov, E.Rebrov (Inventors). Patent Pub. No. WO/2017/220590 (Method of Forming Patent a Coating), IPC C23C 18/12(2006.01). Dec. 2017.

A.O. Ibhadon, Rekha Bhar, Sushil Kansal, Bhawna Sachdeva, the effect of the presence of Sodium bis-(2-ethylhexyl) sulfosuccinate on the interactions between Sodium dodecyl s ulphate and Protein Papain, Jour. Molecular Liquids, 2017, 248, 751-758.

Shaun K. Johnston, Nikolay Cherkasov, Elena Pérez-Barrado; Atte Ahoc, Dmitry Y. Murzinc, Grazia Francesconi; A.O. Ibhadon, Pd3Sn nanoparticles on TiO2 and ZnO supports as catalysts for semihydrogenation: Synthesis and catalytic performance, Applied Catalysis A: General, 2017, 54, 40-45.

A.O. Ibhadon and Shaun K. Johnston Nanoparticulate Pd-Sn Compounds Supported on Metal Oxides: Synthesis, Material and Catalytic Properties, Chem. Eng. Proc. Tech., 2017, 3(3): 1044.

Aandeep Kaur, G. Gupta, A.O. Ibhadon &Sushil Kansal, A Facile synthesis of silver modified ZnO Nanoplates for efficient removal of ofloxacin drug in aqueous phase under solar irradiation, Environ. Chem. Eng. 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.jece.2017.05.032.

A.O. Ibhadon, Nanoparticulate Pd3Sn on TiO2 and ZnO Supports as Catalysts for Semi Hydrogenation: Synthesis and Catalytic Performance. Synthesis and Catalysis, 2017, 2: No. 2 .10.

Kaur, A., Kansal, S.K., A.O.Ibhadon, Photocatalytic degradation of ketorolac tromethamine using Ag-doped ZnO Microplates. Jour. Mater. Sci. 2017, 52, 5256-5267. Doi. 10.1007/s10853-017-0766-6.

A.O. Ibhadon., Shaun Johnston, the Synthesis of Fine Chemicals Using Novel Catalysis.
Synthesis and Catalysis, 2017, 2: No.1:4.

RTD Success Story –Research and Innovation: An EU-funded Project (A.O. Ibhadon) has developed nitrogen fixation and Hydrogenation processes that are faster, more efficient and less polluting than current processes. Up-scaling and adoption could give Europe a greener, more competitive chemicals sector’, Retell Publications, EU Commission Research, Nov. 2016.

Nikolay Cherkasov, Evgeny V. Rebrov and A.O. Ibhadon, Novel Method for the Catalytic Coating of Tubular Reactors. European Patent No 16 175 742.2. June 2016.

Nikolay Cherkasov, Ma ’moun Al-Rawashdeh, A. O. Ibhadon, Evgeny V. Rebrov, Scale up study of Capillary Microreactors in solvent-free semihydrogenation of 2‐methyl‐3‐butyn‐2‐ol. Catal. Today, 2016, 273, 205-212,

Nikolay Cherkasov, A. O. Ibhadon and Evgeny Rebrov Solvent –free semi hydrogenation of acetylene alcohols in a capillary reactor coated with a Pd-Bi/TiO2 Catalyst. Applied Catalysis A: General: 2016, 108-115.

B.S. Patil, N. Cherkasov, J. Lang, A.O. Ibhadon, V.Hessel, Q. Wang, Low Temperature Plasma-Catalytic NOx Synthesis in a Packed DBD Reactor: Effect of Support Materials and Supported Active Metal Oxides. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental. 2016, 194, 123-133. doi: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2016.04.055

Nikolay Cherkasov, A. O. Ibhadon and Evgeny Rebrov Solvent –free semi hydrogenation of acetylene alcohols in a capillary reactor coated with a Pd-Bi/TiO2 Catalyst. Applied Catal. A: General: 2016, 108-115.

Sample conference presentations since 2016
1. Eni Oko, Alex Ibhadon, Arnold Gad-Briggs, Ioannis Giannopolous and Edward Gobina, Modelling and Simulation of an on-board ammonia to hydrogen system in long haul aviation, 32nd European Symposium on Computer Aided Proces Engineering June 12-15th , 2022, Toulouse, France
2. A.O.Ibhadon, M. Ibrahim & E.Oko, Review of Catalyst –aided solvent regeneration in post-combustion CO2 capture process, Int. Conf. on Applied Energy, Nov 29-Dec 2, 2021, Bangkok, Thailand.
3. A. O. Ibhadon CATALYSISMEET 11-13th October 2021, Valencia, Spain
4. A. O. Ibhadon, reduction of Nitroarenes using FeS2 Catalysis, GC Catalysis, Dalian, China, Aug 26-28,2021
5. A. O. Ibhadon, Energy Oceania, Global Renewable Energy Researchers Meeting, London, May 07-08, 2021
6. A. O. Ibhadon, F.Teng and E.Oko, Dimethyl Ether Photoreactors GC Catalysis, China, Aug 26-8,2021
7. A new catalytic system for the highly selective reduction of halogenated Nitrobenzenes, RSC Dalton Conference, University of Warwick, 14th -16th April 2020
8. Southouse, J.P. A. O. Ibhadon and M. G. Francesconi, A new catalytic system for the highly selective reduction of halogenated Nitrobenzenes, RSC Dalton Conference, UoW, 14th -16th April 2020
9. Southouse J, Francesconi, G and Ibhadon A.O. The selective hydrogenation of Nitroarenes to Aniline Derivatives using Low cost Catalyst materials, Int. Symposium on Intermetallic Compounds in Catalysis, (IMCAT 2019), Germany 2019
10. Shaun K. Johnston, Thomas Bryant, Elena Pérez-Barrado, Jonathan Strong, Nikolay Cherkasov A.O. Ibhadon, L. Lazzarini, Atte Aho, Dmitry Y. Murzin, M. Grazia Francesconi, Pd-based Catalysts for the Semi-Hydrogenation of 2-methyl-3-buyne- 2-ol, 18th Nodic Conference on Catalysis, 2018, Denmark.
11. Jamie Southouse and A.O. Ibhadon, the Synthesis of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients: Hydrogenation of Chloronitrobenzene, Keel University, Mercia Group Conference, Dec 19th -21st, 2017.
12. A.O. Ibhadon, Nitrogen Fixation. Manchester Energy Conference, May 2017, Manchester, UK.
Research Interests Catalysis and Process Engineering for energy generation and chemical synthesis
Synthesis of Fine Chemicals in Catalytic reactors
Advanced Materials
Teaching and Learning Director of the Chemical Engineering Programme
The Chemical Engineering Design Project
Bio-Process and Chemistry in Industry
Chemistry for Chemical Engineers
Scopus Author ID 6603029443